Biogas production feasibility in food industry clusters

Panel: 4. Technology, products and systems

This is a peer-reviewed paper.

Emma Lindkvist, Linköping University, Sweden
Magnus Karlsson, Linköping University, Sweden
Jenny Ivner, Linköping University, Sweden


This paper investigates if biogas production is a good alternative to treat food industry by-products and if so, under which circumstances. All food industries in Sweden, with more than 49 employees were mapped. Geographical clusters of industries were identified, and from these five clusters with no or minor biogas production were selected and further analyzed. Three different perspectives were analyzed for each cluster: economic, energy and environmental performance (Global Warming Potential (GWP), Acidification Potential (AP) and Eutrophication Potential (EP). The analysis was based on a comparison of three systems: BAU (Business as Usual) and two biogas production systems: “CHP” and “Vehicle”. In system CHP (Combined Heat and Power) the produced biogas is used to produce heat and electricity and in system Vehicle, the produced biogas is used as vehicle fuel. Interviews were carried out with the food companies in the selected clusters to determine the amounts of organic waste and the present treatment of the waste, as basis for System BAU.

The results show that biogas should be produced in one of the clusters, whilst System BAU has an advantage over the biogas systems in all other clusters. The results for the biogas systems (CHP and Vehicle) are varying depending on the origin of the electricity production, whilst the results for System BAU is robust regarding electricity. The conclusion of this paper is that both the perspective in focus and the system at hand are vital for deciding whether or not biogas production is the best option to treat industrial food waste. Different alternatives can also be “best” from different perspectives. System CHP is a bad economical choice, but the almost always the best choice from an energy perspective for all clusters. This means that invest decisions on biogas production plants have to be made with a broad systems perspective taking existing and potential local value-chains into account.


Download this paper as pdf: 4-023-16_Lindkvist.pdf

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